Inside: A step-by-step of how we enclosed a porch into a living space; turning an uninsulated patio room into a habitable room in our home; pulling down and supporting an exterior supporting wall, reinsulating; grinding the concrete foundation and adding proper electrical and lighting. The ultimate guide on turning a porch into a room!
I’m a bit flabbergasted that this has happened, but here we are. Seven years after first stepping foot into this house and seven years after having a dream of a light-filled office space, it’s finally a reality.
All it took was the guts to turn our old covered porch into a useable, habitable room in our house. Let’s dive right into the process when it comes to enclosing a patio and creating a living space.
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Background Story on why we decided to convert enclosed porch into living space
There were a lot of steps to get to where we are now. The first step? Courage. We knew that this project would be more complex than a typical build.
The previous owner was a bit of a McGyver and basically, nothing (I mean NOTHING) in this house was built straight, plumb, or correctly.
For years, we were completely afraid to take action because we worried it would uncover something we couldn’t afford to make right. But we saved our money, and hired the right contracting team and forged ahead with our DIY enclosed porch project.
We did this renovation in two major phases.
The first phase involved completely levelling and properly insulating the floor beneath the porch. In the next phase, we had to address the concrete floors on the opposite side of the porch area. If you have a full concrete slab under your patio, then you’ll be better off.
We, however, had a wooden frame under part of the outdoor porch and then a concrete foundation on the old ‘inside’. The floor was the biggest mess and largest expense of this entire project.
This post documents the next phase of converting this outdoor space into an interior room.
Step 1: Dealing with the porch demolition and levelling the floor
Our porch area is directly below what is now our dining room. The ceiling was made from exterior vinyl and the walls were just random pieces of tongue and groove. We pulled all of that down in a couple of days.
Surprisingly, there was a bit of insulation behind the boards, but it wasn’t doing anything to help with air flow or heat retention and loss.
Most of it was installed incorrectly. It’s too much to get into here, but choosing the right insulation for your space is a big decision.
I mean, you only really have the walls open enough one time during your project.
So you really want to arm yourself with all the best information when it comes to convert porch into living space.
I also think that it’s where you want to spend whatever budget you have to get the best results.
If you are still wondering if turning a porch into a room, let me say 1 thing: your home will only thank you.
Step 2: Demolition on the Supporting Wall
We tackled almost all the demolition ourselves, with the exception of the structural wall. For that we called in the pros.
We were able to get rid of the drywall and insulation, loose nails, and ceiling tiles, but the studs and beams were taken down by our contracting team.
Let’s move on to the next step of this turning a porch into a room guide.
Step 3: Calculate the properly sized beam
In fact, in order to do that, we had to hire an engineer to calculate the properly sized beam we’d need to carry the load of basically the entire house.
He took SO many measurements and did a bunch of math and determined that we needed a beam that was 10 feet long and 16 inches high and nearly 8 inches deep. It was HUGE.
But what a major difference it made pulling that wall down!
Step 4: Lining up the floors to convert porch to room
The issue we had while blending the porch with the interior of the home was that the floors were at two different levels.
The porch was slightly sunken, by about 3 inches and it didn’t line up well with the concrete foundation of the original house.
To fix that, the contracting team was able to shim the porch floor and add a second layer of plywood subfloor and then used a concrete grinder along the 12″ of concrete leading to the porch to slope it down to level.
Then they sealed the gap between the old porch and the house’s foundation using new concrete patching.
If you’re wondering how to enclose a porch, this is an essential step when it comes to turning a porch into a room!
Step 5: Updating the electrical
One thing that always bugged me about the porch (or garden room, as we often called it) was that there were NO plugs anywhere.
However you can’t plan how to close in a porch to make a room without thinking about the plugs!
When I was using it as a DIY area, I’d have to prop the door open to plug-in tools or lighting and it always felt cold and dirty.
So you better believe that when the walls were open, I was keen to add as many plugs as I could.
I ended up putting three more double outlets (two on the long wall and one by the patio door) and then one quad outlet between the laundry room and patio door for my computer equipment.
It sounds silly, but planning where your outlets will go is a key step to nailing a renovation! If you don’t have them in the right places, you risk not being able to position your furniture the way you want!
Please keep this in mind when turning a porch into a room.
Step 6: Lighting up the old Porch
The number one reason I dreamed up this entire project was light.
The previous owner had gone to immense effort to add two nearly floor-to-ceiling windows in the patio room that let amazing and gorgeous south-facing light into the room. But when it was an enclosed porch, all that light was wasted shining on a bland, storage room wall.
With the supporting wall taken down and the porch area turned into a living area, the windows let the natural light throughout the entire room and it’s just stunning.
Beyond that, I opted for LED recessed pot lights – eight in total. I put one in each corner of each existing room (so four in the porch area and four in the old storage room of the house).
I supplement them with task lighting and now I think this room is the brightest in the entire house! It’s thus also very helpful in case you’re thinking to convert sun porch into a bedroom or converting porch to living space.
Meantime, because I can’t help myself and I’m an old school home and garden show JUNKIE… check out this legit video about screened-in porches being converted into useable living rooms. (Admire the 1990s, y’all! They were .. Ummm… a time… haha)
I really hope you liked this “how to enclose a porch” DIY. Let me know about your projects in the comments!
How to enclose a patio into a room?
Enclosing a patio into a room is easy and necessary if it is not protected against dangerous things. There are different ways to enclose your patio into a room.
Using curtains is a lovely way for converting a patio into a habitable room. It can extend your home to the outdoors. Curtains offer you privacy and shade along with added elegance. The best part about using curtains is that they are versatile.
Whenever you feel like living outdoors, you can pull the curtains back. And then you can put them down again to protect against rain, sun insects, etc. Moreover, curtains are available in almost any color and style you can imagine. So you can easily find perfect curtains according to the interior of your home.
It will also cut your cost to convert the porch to a room.
Installing glass doors or windows around your porch is also an effective way to turn it into a habitable room. It instantly makes your patio into a transitional space of your home.
Enclosing the porch into a room with glass windows and doors is highly protective and cost-effective. If you are concerned about the cost to convert your porch into a room, consider glass for the easy enclosure.
Glass porch enclosures allow a lot of chances to make you feel outdoors. Consider installing sliding doors because they can be slide open completely. Glass enclosures give an aesthetic appeal and offer a great view.
3. Shades and Blinds
It is easy to convert covered patio to room using shades and blinds. They offer privacy and protection from vibrant sun and harsh weather.
They also add ambiance and texture to your porch, which makes it more like an addition to your home. Shades and blinds also keep the surroundings cooler. Based on the design, they also prevent most UV rays while still allowing airflow. You no more need to live in a hot summer the whole day.
You can easily roll the shades up to hide them from harmful weather. For a Bohemian look, you can consider bamboo for wooden blinds.
Short FAQ: Turning a Porch into a Room
How much does it cost to turn a porch into a room?
If you’re wondering how much does it cost to turn a porch into a room, it really depends on your budget. This DIY is very budget-friendly. However, you can also hire a team of professionals to turn your porch into a room.
How to turn a back porch into a laundry room?
If you’re wondering how to turn a back porch into a laundry room, this DIY tutorial will provide you the exact steps.